Louisiana delivered head coach Mark Hudspeth a victory in his Cajun Field debut Saturday evening as the Ragin' Cajuns downed Nicholls State 38-21 in front of 28,741.  The attendance, the eighth largest in Cajun Field history, witnessed Louisiana improve to 2-1 through three games for only the third time since 1990.

Saturday's game marked the 11th occurrence of the Herbert Heymann Football Classic and the win upped the Ragin' Cajuns mark to 8-3 in the annual home opening contest.

Blaine Gautier, who completed three passes for 78 yards, engineered a pair of fourth quarter scores that helped the Cajuns put away the Colonels (1-2).

After starting the fourth quarter at the Nicholls 48-yard line and leading 28-21, Gautier reeled off back-to-back rushes for a combined 21 yards to put Louisiana in position for a 49-yard field goal by Brett Baer that upped the lead to 10 points with 12:04 remaining.

Six-plus minutes later Gautier heaved a pass deep down the left sideline to Javone Lawson for a 60-yard touchdown connection that increased the advantage to 38-21 with 5:50 left to play.

Nicholls mounted a 12-play drive, but stalled out on fourth down handing the ball back to UL 41 seconds remaining.

Alonzo Harris led the Cajuns with 76 yards rushing, Gautier added 36 and Qyendarius Griffin 28. The Cajuns ended the night with 170 yards rushing - the third consecutive game with 100-plus gained on the ground.

The Colonels were led by 100 yards passing from LaQunitin Caston and 95 yards rushing by Marcus Washington.

UL faced a first-and-35 from their six-yard line after four straight penalties on first possession of the game. UL was forced to punt, but caught a break when Darryl Surgent recovered a fumble on the kick by Nicholls State's Brenton Bowman.

The Cajuns defense helped Louisiana take an early lead when Melvin White forced the second fumble of the first quarter after a completion to NSU's Kenyad Blair giving the Cajuns a short field at the 12-yard line. Chris Masson converted for the Cajuns with a one-yard touchdown run to cap a four-play 12-yard drive to give UL a 7-0 lead 5:34 into the game.

Nicholls State answered with a five-play 54-yard touchdown drive to even the contest at 7-all. Washington rushed for 31 yards on the drive including a 10-yard TD run.

UL went back in front 14-7 at the 4:33 mark in the first quarter on a Brad McGuire one-yard TD run. A 27-yard screen pass to Robert Walker from Masson set up the scoring play.

With 46 seconds left in the first quarter, Caston threw a 36-yard touchdown strike to Joshua Warren to pull the Colonels back even.

In the second quarter, after a Nicholls State drive stalled at the UL 24-yard line, White scooped up a blocked field goal attempt by Cordian Hagans and returned it 68 yards to put Louisiana back in front 21-14 with 6:27 remaining in the half. The blocked kick was the first of the season for the Cajuns and the 45th blocked kick since 2002.

Dwight Bentley recorded his third career "pick six" on Nicholls State's first possession of the second half to give the Cajuns a 28-14 advantage. On third-and-seven, Bentley stepped in front of a Caston pass and returned the interception 41 yards down the sideline untouched for the touchdown.

The Colonels cut the Louisiana lead to seven with 9:00 left in the third quarter when Caston hooked up with Washington for a nine-yard TD strike on third-and-goal from the nine-yard.

Louisiana opens Sun Belt Conference play next weekend at FIU. The Cajuns and Panthers kick off at 5 p.m. (CT) at FIU Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Nicholls State vs Louisiana (Sep 17, 2011 at Lafayette, La.)

 Team Totals  NICH  UL 
FIRST DOWNS  14  12 
   Rushing 
   Passing 
   Penalty 
NET YARDS RUSHING  96  142 
   Rushing Attempts  41  41 
   Average Per Rush  2.3  3.5 
   Rushing Touchdowns 
   Yards Gained Rushing  153  170 
   Yards Lost Rushing  57  28 
NET YARDS PASSING  129  138 
   Completions-Attempts-Int  11-22-1  7-15-1 
   Average Per Attempt  5.9  9.2 
   Average Per Completion  11.7  19.7 
   Passing Touchdowns 
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS  225  280 
   Total offense plays  63  56 
   Average Gain Per Play  3.6  5.0 
Fumbles: Number-Lost  4-2  3-1 
Penalties: Number-Yards  3-19  10-85 
PUNTS-YARDS  7-315  7-240 
   Average Yards Per Punt  45.0  34.3 
   Net Yards Per Punt  39.7  34.7 
   Inside 20 
   50+ Yards 
   Touchbacks 
   Fair catch 
KICKOFFS-YARDS  4-245  7-441 
   Average Yards Per Kickoff  61.2  63.0 
   Net Yards Per Kickoff  36.8  37.9 
   Touchbacks 
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD  2--3-0  2-17-0 
   Average Per Return  -1.5  8.5 
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD  7-176-0  3-78-0 
   Average Per Return  25.1  26.0 
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD  1-9-0  1-41-1 
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD  0-0-0  1-5-1 
Miscellaneous Yards  76 
Possession Time  34:16  25:44 
   1st Quarter  5:41  9:19 
   2nd Quarter  9:49  5:11 
   3rd Quarter  9:49  5:11 
   4th Quarter  8:57  6:03 
Third-Down Conversions  3 of 15  3 of 12 
Fourth-Down Conversions  1 of 2  0 of 0 
Red-Zone Scores-Chances  2-3  2-2 
Sacks By: Number-Yards  2-15  8-38 
PAT Kicks  3-3  5-5 
Field Goals  0-1  1-1 

 


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